The Circular Economy in Umeå, Sweden

image of The Circular Economy in Umeå, Sweden

This report aims to support the city of Umeå in becoming the leader in the circular economy as stated in its strategic plan for 2016-2028. Umeå’s population doubled over the last 50 years, making it one of Europe’s fastest growing cities in a sparsely populated region (Northern Sweden). By 2050, the city is expected to reach a population of 200 000 inhabitants, with consequences on housing, use of natural resources and waste production. As such, the local government is developing a model integrating environmental, social and economic aspects within a circular economy approach. This is in line with the Swedish Government’s objective to strengthen society’s transition to a resource-efficient, circular and bio-based economy.


Executive summary

In Umeå, Sweden, the circular economy represents a new socioeconomic paradigm to stimulate businesses, while achieving the environmental goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. Umeå is the fastest-growing urban centre in Northern Sweden and will host 200 000 inhabitants by 2050, thus increasing the demand of infrastructure including the housing stock, schools, roads and green areas, as well the demand for natural resources, energy and food. This expected growth is an opportunity to move from “business as usual” to a more circular approach whereby construction materials can be used and reused, energy and water efficiency can increase in buildings, food minimised and innovation promoted for closing loops across value chains.


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